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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Movie Review: Powerful acting about political power struggles

    Sean Penn, as the Louisiana demagogue Willie Stark, addresses a crowd in All the Kings Men, Steven Zaillians long-awaited adaptation of the classic novel.
    Sean Penn, as the Louisiana demagogue Willie Stark, addresses a crowd in “”All the King’s Men,”” Steven Zaillian’s long-awaited adaptation of the classic novel.

    With the November elections only a month or so away, what better way is there to get fired up to vote than to watch a movie like “”All the King’s Men”” about the moral decay in politics?

    Jack Burden (Jude Law) is a journalist covering local politics when he stumbles upon the humble Willie Stark (Sean Penn). Stark is a county treasurer in Louisiana who tries to inform the local people that the state government is filling their pockets instead of building schoolhouses.

    When the faultily made school building collapses, Stark becomes a town hero due to his morality. The even more corrupt government officials at the governor’s level then dupe him into running for governor as they use him in an attempt to split the “”hick vote.””

    Lo and behold, Stark manages to see through their game and ends up winning the election. Burden gets taken along for the ride with a new job as Stark’s sweet-talker. While Stark may have had dreams originally of bringing resources to the common people, Burden watches as his character evolves into something quite different. It seems no one can avoid the corrupting element of power.

    From seeing all of the asterisks in the trailer, you probably noticed that pretty much all of the main cast has been either an Academy Award winner or nominee. Standing out in that cast is no easy matter, so the fact that Penn goes above and beyond the expected excellence really says something.

    He was an absolute perfect pick for this role. Penn is electrifying with every scene he’s in; he gesticulates wildly like a crazy man and yells loud and long, to the point of cracking his voice. It’s easy to see why people would be sucked into voting for him as the governor; he brings in an incredible amount of charisma through his character.

    Even with Penn’s energy, “”All the King’s Men”” does have trouble keeping your attention all the way through. Two hours is a long time for even the most action-packed movie. “”All the King’s Men”” isn’t that type of movie.

    “”All the Kings Men””
    141 min.
    Sony Production Company

    Rating: 7/10

    The film is based on Robert Penn Warren’s 600-plus page book (previously filmed in 1949), so it takes an incredibly long time to set up and develop. The plot is about the change in Stark’s character and ethics, and showing the moral ruin of a man isn’t something that you can just jump to quickly.

    If you’re willing to put in the effort and stick with it, “”All the King’s Men”” is well worth watching. However, if you’re the type who already starts squirming in your seat with impatience before the trailers are over, this probably won’t be the movie to see (but I hear “”Jackass Number Two”” is out).

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